Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

15 October 2013

Some striking stats on food security, jobs and irrigation in Africa

  • In the next 40 years, the world’s farmers will need to produce more food than they have had to in the last 8,000 years, to feed a fast-growing population (World Economic Forum).
  • Sub-Saharan Africa's current population, at 856m, is little more than Europe's and a fifth of Asia's. By 2050 it could be almost three times Europe's and by 2100 might even be three-quarters of the size of Asia. (Economist).
  • Compared to 14% living in urban areas in 1950, by 2015, 45% of people in sub-Saharan Africa will be urbanized (World Bank).
  • Africa's domestic food market is expected to rise threefold from USD 313 bn today to USD 1 trillion by 2030. Over half the demand will come from growing urban centres where the rapidly increasing middle-class will be requiring higher quality food (World Bank).
  • Agricultural production (i.e. growing crops and livestock) currently represents over 60% of the value of the entire value chain in Africa. Globally the figure is 22%, with the remainder being derived from off-farm value creation (i.e food processing, logistics and marketing) (Rabobank).
  • Currently, 70% of Africans are under the age of 30. By 2040, 50% of the world’s youth will be African, most of whom will be women and girls. In sub-Saharan Africa, 10-12 million new workers seek employment every year (Forbes).
  • Irrigation is practised on 6 percent of the total cultivated area of the African continent. This percentage is much lower than that for other regions: 38 percent in Asia, 27 percent in the Caribbean, and 12 percent in Latin America (FAO).
  • About 70 percent of the total area under irrigation is concentrated in five countries (South Africa, Egypt, Madagascar, Morocco and Sudan), all of which, with the exception of Madagascar, are now using 100% or more of their annual renewable water resources (FAO).
  • AgDevCo operates in five countries in SSA (Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Ghana) all of which have irrigation on less than 5% of available land and use less than 25% of their renewable annual water resources (FAO).